The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “A Day In The Death,” the eighth episode of the second season of BBC?s “Torchwood.”
Three days ago he died, and now Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) is the glass man of Cardiff. One punch and he?s gone, bullets, needles and blades won?t hurt him and no matter what he?ll never heal. But with no breath for CPR, can he really still be considered a Doctor?
It has a lot to offer, but sadly ?A Day In The Death? doesn?t fully deliver on everything promised by the two preceding episodes, with a lot of smaller and more isolated character pieces revolving around the larger story of Owen?s transformation.
Gone is the intense and psychedelic directing offered by Andy Goddard in ?Dead Man Walking.? In its place, though, he offers some very deep and emotional shots of Owen?s isolation as he tests his own limits (or lack thereof) while life goes on and the Earth continues to spin without him.
And even though there is some sense of closure by the end of the adventure, one thing is clear: this is only the beginning of Owen?s journey. Or perhaps it is the beginning of the end.
?A Day In The Death? was a brilliant character piece and the opening teaser of Owen?s plight was short, tightly shot and very dramatic … just how ?Torchwood? likes to do it. Burn Gorman?s monologue throughout the entire episode was very nicely done and for the second episode in a row we had a chance to see the frail, vulnerable human being beneath the surface. Only now, his body is just as fragile as he is.
In keeping with the walking dead theme, there was something so ?Dawn Of The Dead? about the wandering bride covered in blood, and Owen?s attempt to save her was an expected addition to his journey. It?s not the city or the world he was attempting to save — it was one person. One lonely woman mourning the loss of her husband (and her life) and his efforts very nicely brought about a sense of optimism for his life as the glass man.
The episode could have been spoiled by the last-minute addition of a mission when so much of the story is a dark journey for Owen; however ,not only did it provide a physical use for Owen?s condition (oblivious to heat sensors and electric currents), the entire operation was given meaning thanks to his conversation with the aged resident clutching an alien device. And his final moments wonderfully pulled all the threads for the arc into one conclusive ending.
Ben Foster also provided us with a marvelous assortment of musical score to accompany the episode — it was powerful at points, barren and almost desolate in others. The man is nothing short of a genius.
What Didn?t Work
Why is Gwen giving orders? It would have been a nice progression of the character had it not been for the recent news that she could be stepping up to take over the team in the wake of John Barrowman?s departure next year. This is his series and without him ?Torchwood? won?t be ?Torchwood.?
By this episode, Martha?s integration into the team is complete … however she done very little aside from have a couple of small chats with Owen and carry out some medical tests. This leaves her very underused and suicidal Maggie done more for him than Martha did. Oh well, here?s hoping ?Doctor Who?s? ?Sontaran Stratagem? will have more for her to do.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Torchwood” stars John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Gareth David-Lloyd and Naoko Mori, with Freema Agyeman and airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. GMT on BBC 2, and then on at Saturday nights at 9 p.m ET on BBC America. “A Day In The Death” was written by Joseph Lidster and was directed by Andy Goddard.
Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha and its sister site Rabid Doll. Contributing from his home country of Scotland, he is currently studying for a diploma in freelance journalism and can be reached at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.